Hood Stories

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Six years since their debut and with little mainstream notice, Dirty make their 2005 play for the big time by acting less like OutKast and more like true thugs on the ambitious Hood Stories. No doubt, this is a duo to root for. Dirty are scrappy and ambitious, and Hood Stories aims to be taken seriously with introspective tracks and political numbers playing a larger role than usual. It's admirable that "Git Cha Handz Off Me" addresses police violence and that the plaintive reflection of "Sometimes" and the smoky "Just a Little Bit Mo" are fleshed out with some poignant rhymes, but revolution songs and entirely deep numbers seem out of Dirty's reach this time around. Hood Stories comes alive when it gets out of its own head and hits the streets or the clubs. Inspired bangers like "Let's Ride" and "Da Hood Back" connect better than any of the ghetto ballads, and slinky grinders like "Behind Ya Duke" and "Rolie Polie" show the two are more inspired and gifted when dealing with booty. Hood Stories satisfies in fits and starts, but it tries too hard and overworks producer Maximillion by not calling in more help. No great embarrassment for the hard-working crew, but not the career-defining moment they were obviously gunning for.

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